If You Have Employees in Texas, Your Risk of a Sex Harassment Claim Just Increased

Texas recently passed two new laws regarding sex harassment that will impact most employers who have employees in Texas. Both of these new laws go into effect on Sept. 1 of this year.  

Senate Bill 45 amends the Texas Labor Code by:

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U.S. DOL Issues NPR Implementing New $15 an Hour Federal Contractor Minimum Wage

Today the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (you can find it here https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2021-15348.pdf ) that establishes standards to enforce President Biden’s Executive Order 14026, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors”. 

EO 14026 and the DOL Rules will directly impact federal contractors in several ways:

  • Effective January 30, 2022, the minimum wage for workers on covered federal contracts will increase to $15 per hour,
  • Ensure that disabled workers on federal contracts receive at least $15 an hour,
  • By 2024 eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal contract workers, and
  • The federal contract minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.

As a comparison, the current federal contract minimum wage is $10.95 per hour.

Since several Democrat state Attorneys General have brought criminal charges against Federal Contractors for what would have previously been classified as innocent mistakes, Federal Contactors must make doubly sure that they are complying with all Rules and Regulations regarding the compensation of workers on these types of projects.

President Biden Has Not Banned Non-Compete Agreements, But It Looks like He Wants To

President Biden recently issued an Executive Order “Promoting Competition in the American Economy”.  The EO does not ban or limit the use of non-compete agreements. But, it does direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pursue a rulemaking process that could ban or severely restrict the use of noncompete agreements as a matter of federal law. 

You may recall that in 2020 the FTC held public workshops regarding the use of noncompete agreements.  Although several meetings were held and papers were written, no action was taken to enact a specific rule or statue.

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EEOC Issues Guidance Addressing Discrimination Against Transgender Employees

The EEOC has issued a “technical assistance document” addressing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  You can find the document here:  https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/protections-against-employment-discrimination-based-sexual-orientation-or-gender .

The EEOC made clear in the guidance that employers may not discriminate against, or segregate employees based upon perceived or actual customer preference.  This applies to both actual sexual preference and transgender status as well as the fact that an employee may not conform to stereotypes related to their biological sex. 

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Relevant Bills of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session

This past Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature has resulted in several new laws that will impact the HR professional. I have included a quick rundown of the most significant of those laws below.

House Bill 459, now Act 474: Amends LSA-R.S. 23:1660 and alters the way that employers must file information with the LWC, such as contribution and wage reports.

House Bill 707, now Act 406:  Enacts LSA-R.S. 23:291.2. This new law will preclude employers in most circumstances from requesting or considering an applicant’s arrest record or charges that did not result in a conviction if such information was received in the course of a background check. LSA-R.S. 291.1 defines a “background check” as research into the background of a prospective or current employee. 

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EEOC Issues Guidance on Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The EEOC recently issued a guidance regarding its current position on Title VII rights in light of the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the trilogy of cases that we commonly refer to as the Bostock ruling.  The guidance contains some specific legal truisms that are worth reiterating.

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